The Japanese government began 2024 by concluding a flurry of security deals with international partners, garnering much attention both because of the pace and scope of the agreements.

These include a new acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) with Germany, a defense technology transfer pact with the United Arab Emirates and a deal with the United States to purchase up to 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles. These are just the most recent in a line of international agreements that Tokyo has negotiated in the past few years, as the government seeks to advance its bilateral and multilateral security relationships.

But what are these agreements, and what do they really mean for Japanese security, in practice? Are we seeing the birth of new alliances, or are these simply transactional arrangements?